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Argument: Greek debt is too large for bailout to solve

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Bill Bonner. "Greek bailout only adds to debt." The Christian Science Monitor. May 10th, 2010: "Greeks borrowed money they couldn’t reasonably expect to pay back. Foreign bankers – largely French and German – hoped to earn outsized yields by taking a risk on Greek debt. A just ruler would let them all collapse, and give them the boot on the way down. Instead, the knaves enjoyed their loot. And, under the terms of the bailout, the fools are supposed to get their money after all; it will be squeezed out of taxpayers all over Europe.

The plans of the ruling classes are not merely unjust. They are unworkable. Over the next three years, Greece will add $50 billion in deficits, stabilizing the debt at 150% of GDP. It will also need to come up with $70 billion to pay off debt that matures over the next two years. That is more than the amount offered in the bailout. Which means, Greece will have to borrow more money as early as next year, probably triggering another crisis. Plus, there are the other weak sisters and spendthrift brothers in the European family. Bailing them all out could cost as much as 1 trillion euros.

But the real problem is much deeper. It is philosophical as well as mathematical. Too much debt, like too much dying, is not a transitional state. It’s a final state. And once the soul has left the body, there is no point in trying to keep the husk alive. Similarly, when a debt cannot be repaid, there’s no use pretending. When you cannot keep up with the interest on a debt, it is added to the principle. The debt grows, becoming evermore unmanageable. It’s better to admit the error as soon as possible and start organizing the details of your financial funeral."


"The Greek Bailout Flop: So much for stopping the contagion." The Wall Street Journal. May 5, 2010: "According to the latest official projections, Greek public debt, currently 108% of gross domestic product, will top 149% of GDP in 2013, the year that the bailout loans, in theory, come due. Assuming an average interest rate of 6% on that debt, Greece would be left paying 9% of its GDP to bondholders, 80% of whom are located abroad. Put another way, 25% of Greek tax revenue would go toward interest payments to foreign bondholders. Meanwhile, Greece's government spending equals more than 50% of GDP and labor productivity is well below the EU average, neither of which bode well for growth going forward."

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